Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG–binding protein 2 (MeCP2) cause Rett syndrome (RTT), a neurological disorder affecting cognitive development, respiration, and motor function. Genetic restoration of MeCP2 expression reverses RTT-like phenotypes in mice, highlighting the need to search for therapeutic approaches. Here, we have developed knockin mice recapitulating the most common RTT-associated missense mutation, MeCP2 T158M. We found that the T158M mutation impaired MECP2 binding to methylated DNA and destabilized MeCP2 protein in an age-dependent manner, leading to the development of RTT-like phenotypes in these mice. Genetic elevation of MeCP2 T158M expression ameliorated multiple RTT-like features, including motor dysfunction and breathing irregularities, in both male and female mice. These improvements were accompanied by increased binding of MeCP2 T158M to DNA. Further, we found that the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway was responsible for MeCP2 T158M degradation and that proteasome inhibition increased MeCP2 T158M levels. Together, these findings demonstrate that increasing MeCP2 T158M protein expression is sufficient to mitigate RTT-like phenotypes and support the targeting of MeCP2 T158M expression or stability as an alternative therapeutic approach.
Janine M. Lamonica, Deborah Y. Kwon, Darren Goffin, Polina Fenik, Brian S. Johnson, Yue Cui, Hengyi Guo, Sigrid Veasey, Zhaolan Zhou
The integration of somatosensory information is generally assumed to be a function of the central nervous system (CNS). Here we describe fully functional GABAergic communication within rodent peripheral sensory ganglia and show that it can modulate transmission of pain-related signals from the peripheral sensory nerves to the CNS. We found that sensory neurons express major proteins necessary for GABA synthesis and release and that sensory neurons released GABA in response to depolarization. In vivo focal infusion of GABA or GABA reuptake inhibitor to sensory ganglia dramatically reduced acute peripherally induced nociception and alleviated neuropathic and inflammatory pain. In addition, focal application of GABA receptor antagonists to sensory ganglia triggered or exacerbated peripherally induced nociception. We also demonstrated that chemogenetic or optogenetic depolarization of GABAergic dorsal root ganglion neurons in vivo reduced acute and chronic peripherally induced nociception. Mechanistically, GABA depolarized the majority of sensory neuron somata, yet produced a net inhibitory effect on the nociceptive transmission due to the filtering effect at nociceptive fiber T-junctions. Our findings indicate that peripheral somatosensory ganglia represent a hitherto underappreciated site of somatosensory signal integration and offer a potential target for therapeutic intervention.
Xiaona Du, Han Hao, Yuehui Yang, Sha Huang, Caixue Wang, Sylvain Gigout, Rosmaliza Ramli, Xinmeng Li, Ewa Jaworska, Ian Edwards, Jim Deuchars, Yuchio Yanagawa, Jinlong Qi, Bingcai Guan, David B. Jaffe, Hailin Zhang, Nikita Gamper
Accumulation of amyloid-β (Aβ) protein may cause synapse degeneration and cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) by reactivating expression of the developmental synapse repressor protein Ephexin5 (also known as ARHGEF15). Here, we have reported that Aβ is sufficient to acutely promote the production of Ephexin5 in mature hippocampal neurons and in mice expressing human amyloid precursor protein (hAPP mice), a model for familial AD that produces high brain levels of Aβ. Ephexin5 expression was highly elevated in the hippocampi of human AD patients, indicating its potential relevance to AD. We also observed elevated Ephexin5 expression in the hippocampi of hAPP mice. Removal of Ephexin5 expression eliminated hippocampal dendritic spine loss and rescued AD-associated behavioral deficits in the hAPP mice. Furthermore, selective reduction of Ephexin5 expression using shRNA in the dentate gyrus of presymptomatic adolescent hAPP mice was sufficient to protect these mice from developing cognitive impairment. Thus, pathological elevation of Ephexin5 expression critically drives Aβ-induced memory impairment, and strategies aimed at reducing Ephexin5 levels may represent an effective approach to treating AD.
Gabrielle L. Sell, Thomas B. Schaffer, Seth S. Margolis
Duane retraction syndrome (DRS) is the most common form of congenital paralytic strabismus in humans and can result from α2-chimaerin (
Alicia A. Nugent, Jong G. Park, Yan Wei, Alan P. Tenney, Nicole M. Gilette, Michelle M. DeLisle, Wai-Man Chan, Long Cheng, Elizabeth C. Engle
Extensive 3′ alternative splicing of the mu opioid receptor gene
Jin Xu, Zhigang Lu, Ankita Narayan, Valerie P. Le Rouzic, Mingming Xu, Amanda Hunkele, Taylor G. Brown, William F. Hoefer, Grace C. Rossi, Richard C. Rice, Arlene Martínez-Rivera, Anjali M. Rajadhyaksha, Luca Cartegni, Daniel L. Bassoni, Gavril W. Pasternak, Ying-Xian Pan
Pain is fundamentally unpleasant and induces a negative affective state. The affective component of pain is mediated by circuits that are distinct from those mediating the sensory-discriminative component. Here, we have investigated the role of prostaglandins in the affective dimension of pain using a rodent pain assay based on conditioned place aversion to formalin injection, an inflammatory noxious stimulus. We found that place aversion induced by inflammatory pain depends on prostaglandin E2 that is synthesized by cyclooxygenase 2 in neural cells. Further, mice lacking the prostaglandin E2 receptor EP3 selectively on serotonergic cells or selectively in the area of the dorsal raphe nucleus failed to form an aversion to formalin-induced pain, as did mice lacking the serotonin transporter. Chemogenetic manipulations revealed that EP3 receptor activation elicited conditioned place aversion to pain via inhibition of serotonergic neurons. In contrast to their role in inflammatory pain aversion, EP3 receptors on serotonergic cells were dispensable for acute nociceptive behaviors and for aversion induced by thermal pain or a κ opioid receptor agonist. Collectively, our findings show that prostaglandin-mediated modulation of serotonergic transmission controls the affective component of inflammatory pain.
Anand Kumar Singh, Joanna Zajdel, Elahe Mirrasekhian, Nader Almoosawi, Isabell Frisch, Anna M. Klawonn, Maarit Jaarola, Michael Fritz, David Engblom
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a polyglutamine (polyQ) disease caused by aberrant expansion of the polyQ tract in Huntingtin (HTT). While motor impairment mediated by polyQ-expanded HTT has been intensively studied, molecular mechanisms for nonmotor symptoms in HD, such as psychiatric manifestations, remain elusive. Here we have demonstrated that HTT forms a ternary protein complex with the scaffolding protein DISC1 and cAMP-degrading phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) to regulate PDE4 activity. We observed pathological cross-seeding between DISC1 and mutant HTT aggregates in the brains of HD patients as well as in a murine model that recapitulates the polyQ pathology of HD (R6/2 mice). In R6/2 mice, consequent reductions in soluble DISC1 led to dysregulation of DISC1-PDE4 complexes, aberrantly increasing the activity of PDE4. Importantly, exogenous expression of a modified DISC1, which binds to PDE4 but not mutant HTT, normalized PDE4 activity and ameliorated anhedonia in the R6/2 mice. We propose that cross-seeding of mutant HTT and DISC1 and the resultant changes in PDE4 activity may underlie the pathology of a specific subset of mental manifestations of HD, which may provide an insight into molecular signaling in mental illness in general.
Motomasa Tanaka, Koko Ishizuka, Yoko Nekooki-Machida, Ryo Endo, Noriko Takashima, Hideyuki Sasaki, Yusuke Komi, Amy Gathercole, Elaine Huston, Kazuhiro Ishii, Kelvin Kai-Wan Hui, Masaru Kurosawa, Sun-Hong Kim, Nobuyuki Nukina, Eiki Takimoto, Miles D. Houslay, Akira Sawa
Leptin contributes to the control of resting metabolic rate (RMR) and blood pressure (BP) through its actions in the arcuate nucleus (ARC). The renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and angiotensin AT1 receptors within the brain are also involved in the control of RMR and BP, but whether this regulation overlaps with leptin’s actions is unclear. Here, we have demonstrated the selective requirement of the AT1A receptor in leptin-mediated control of RMR. We observed that AT1A receptors colocalized with leptin receptors (LEPRs) in the ARC. Cellular coexpression of AT1A and LEPR was almost exclusive to the ARC and occurred primarily within neurons expressing agouti-related peptide (AgRP). Mice lacking the AT1A receptor specifically in LEPR-expressing cells failed to show an increase in RMR in response to a high-fat diet and deoxycorticosterone acetate–salt (DOCA-salt) treatments, but BP control remained intact. Accordingly, loss of RMR control was recapitulated in mice lacking AT1A in AgRP-expressing cells. We conclude that angiotensin activates divergent mechanisms to control BP and RMR and that the brain RAS functions as a major integrator for RMR control through its actions at leptin-sensitive AgRP cells of the ARC.
Kristin E. Claflin, Jeremy A. Sandgren, Allyn M. Lambertz, Benjamin J. Weidemann, Nicole K. Littlejohn, Colin M.L. Burnett, Nicole A. Pearson, Donald A. Morgan, Katherine N. Gibson-Corley, Kamal Rahmouni, Justin L. Grobe
Peptides derived from pre-proglucagon (GCG peptides) act in both the periphery and the CNS to change food intake, glucose homeostasis, and metabolic rate while playing a role in anxiety behaviors and physiological responses to stress. Although the actions of GCG peptides produced in the gut and pancreas are well described, the role of glutamatergic GGC peptide–secreting hindbrain neurons in regulating metabolic homeostasis has not been investigated. Here, we have shown that chemogenetic stimulation of GCG-producing neurons reduces metabolic rate and food intake in fed and fasted states and suppresses glucose production without an effect on glucose uptake. Stimulation of GCG neurons had no effect on corticosterone secretion, body weight, or conditioned taste aversion. In the diet-induced obese state, the effects of GCG neuronal stimulation on gluconeogenesis were lost, while the food intake–lowering effects remained, resulting in reductions in body weight and adiposity. Our work suggests that GCG peptide–expressing neurons can alter feeding, metabolic rate, and glucose production independent of their effects on hypothalamic pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activation, aversive conditioning, or insulin secretion. We conclude that GCG neurons likely stimulate separate populations of downstream cells to produce a change in food intake and glucose homeostasis and that these effects depend on the metabolic state of the animal.
Ronald P. Gaykema, Brandon A. Newmyer, Matteo Ottolini, Vidisha Raje, Daniel M. Warthen, Philip S. Lambeth, Maria Niccum, Ting Yao, Yiru Huang, Ira G. Schulman, Thurl E. Harris, Manoj K. Patel, Kevin W. Williams, Michael M. Scott
Munc13 proteins are essential regulators of neurotransmitter release at nerve cell synapses. They mediate the priming step that renders synaptic vesicles fusion-competent, and their genetic elimination causes a complete block of synaptic transmission. Here we have described a patient displaying a disorder characterized by a dyskinetic movement disorder, developmental delay, and autism. Using whole-exome sequencing, we have shown that this condition is associated with a rare, de novo Pro814Leu variant in the major human Munc13 paralog UNC13A (also known as Munc13-1). Electrophysiological studies in murine neuronal cultures and functional analyses in
Noa Lipstein, Nanda M. Verhoeven-Duif, Francesco E. Michelassi, Nathaniel Calloway, Peter M. van Hasselt, Katarzyna Pienkowska, Gijs van Haaften, Mieke M. van Haelst, Ron van Empelen, Inge Cuppen, Heleen C. van Teeseling, Annemieke M.V. Evelein, Jacob A. Vorstman, Sven Thoms, Olaf Jahn, Karen J. Duran, Glen R. Monroe, Timothy A. Ryan, Holger Taschenberger, Jeremy S. Dittman, Jeong-Seop Rhee, Gepke Visser, Judith J. Jans, Nils Brose